This heat wave sucks. After the umpteenth story with that “dog-bites-man” theme, the Washington Post has come up with a new storyline to make everyone feel a little better:
Shiver or swelter? The great debate between derecho hell and snowmageddon
Shiver or swelter? It is a question that hardly anyone who has endured both Snowmageddon and Derecho Damnation wants to confront, if only because the question itself triggers its own torment.
I know what you’re thinking. If it’s a question that hardly anyone wants to confront, then how precisely could it be a “great debate”?
No, this “debate” isn’t up there with “paper vs. plastic” or “toilet paper hanging next to the wall vs. away from the wall.” So let’s skip the Post‘s interviews with regular people and cut to the proverbial chase — what do the experts say?
Doctors are clear where they stand on the matter. If they had to withstand a marathon Pepco outage (and it’s almost always a marathon Pepco outage, let’s not pretend otherwise), they’d prefer to endure it during the winter. Not in a heat wave. Because here’s how heat sickness turns into death:
“You start having severe muscle cramps,” explained Michael Kerr, an emergency doctor at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney. “Then, severe abdominal cramps. Nausea and vomiting start. Your muscles break down. Mental confusion. Maybe renal failure. Heat coma. Then, death.”
Freezing to death, this is preferable.
“Dying in the cold is very painless,” said Kerr, an experienced outdoorsman who likes camping in Montana and northern Idaho. “When you are out in the cold, you start getting confused, disoriented. You literally go to sleep.”
There you have it, people. One more reason to act now to slash greenhouse gas emissions and avoid truly catastrophic levels of global warming:
- M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — and Arctic warming of 20°F
- We are headed to warming of 13-18°F over most of U.S.
- Science stunner: On our current emissions path, CO2 levels in 2100 will hit levels last seen when the Earth was 29°F (16°C) hotter
Of course the real reason the Washington Post reporter wrote this story is so he could quote the classic Robert Frost poem, “Fire and Ice”:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Climate Progress readers know that if we keep listening to the do-little and do-nothing crowd, the world is going to end in fire — humanity’s burning of fossil fuels (and forests).